A majority of local authorities in Wales are still failing to use their powers to tackle the blight of empty homes.
An investigation by Plaid Cymru has found that fourteen local authorities in Wales have reported their intention to apply a council tax discount of 50% to empty properties for 2019-20. Six local authorities have reported their intention to apply a discount to second homes.
This is in addition to nine local authorities intend to charge a council tax premium on long-term empty properties and seven that have reported intention to charge a premium on second homes.
There are approximately 26,500 empty homes in Wales.
Shadow minister for housing, Leanne Wood AM has recently published Housing supply for the future, a consultation paper on housing supply in Wales which outlines the problems that exist in the sector in Wales and the different ways in which the issues can be solved.
Leanne Wood AM and Plaid Cymru shadow minster for housing said,
“These statistics prove that Local Authorities in Wales have failed to effectively use their powers to tackle the blight of empty homes. Instead, they are reinforcing the problem.
“Not only should discounts for empty or second homes be removed, punitive rates should be imposed on empty or second homes.
“We are currently in a situation where those who can afford second homes are offered a subsidy in the form of council tax discounts whereas there is no such assistance for those on low wages and insecure employment to get on the housing ladder.
“The system is unequal and local authorities need to start taking this issue seriously and use the powers they have to tackle the housing crisis in Wales. Empty homes are a clear source of housing supply.
“Plaid Cymru are committed to developing long-term, sustainable solutions to answer the challenges Wales faces and so we have undertaken research in to Wales’s housing crisis, and, crucially, how we can solve it.